Saturday, May 20, 2017

Escape From Florida

Dear Rick Scott,

I'm leaving your state.

There are several reasons.

Chief among them: your state is a killer state for bicyclists.

Florida has the highest number of bicyclist deaths in the U.S. and you don't care. You have showed no political leadership to try and reduce that number and the fact is you and the political leaders just don't care enough to do anything about keeping bicyclists alive in your state. A former state legislator who is the ex-mayor of Kissimmee, Frank Attkisson, even was killed while riding a bicycle in St. Cloud in early April and the state Legislature was not moved to toughen the penalties for drivers who kill bicyclists.  

On March 7, I nearly joined the long list of bicyclists killed by motorists in Florida.

But I survived, and for that I am grateful.

I survived a motorist who smashed into me from behind (he claimed he never saw me) while I pedaled in north St. Lucie County outside Fort Pierce.

And with that memory in mind, I rode a memorial bike ride called the Ride of Silence Saturday in Vero Beach. Many towns around the world held similar bike rides Wednesday to draw attention to and memorialize the lives of bicyclists snuffed out by people who drive motorized vehicles.

Here in Vero Beach, about half way between Orlando and South Florida on the Atlantic coast, I joined 50 other bicyclists to remember those who have lost their lives in Vero Beach and Indian River County.

The local bike club has a large membership for a relatively small city such as Vero Beach (population 16,000). And an advocacy group called Bike Walk Indian River County lobbies county officials to improve road conditions for bicyclists.

It's an impressive display of sweat equity to lean on local officials to make it safer for bicyclists.

But Rick Scott and his Department of Cars are good at lip service about bicycling but don't deliver the goods.

Florida treats the high number of bicyclist deaths as collateral damage of a modern road society, just business as usual in the sandbar state.

Bye Florida. Happiness is getting out of your state alive.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Jared's Listening Tour Included Connecting With Kelly Garni -- Bass Player and Coffee Shop Owner in Pioche

They’re businessmen in small Nevada towns. Both are known for their down-to-earth personalities. And they’re even musicians – one plays bass guitar, the other is a drummer.

And just recently, their paths crossed.

Jared Fisher, of Blue Diamond, was bicycling 1,400 miles around the state of Nevada to listen to Nevadans on a bicycle tour to launch his campaign for governor this month, while Kelly Garni owns a combination art gallery-coffeehouse-restaurant in the small town of Pioche in Lincoln County about two hours north of Las Vegas.

Their worlds collided when Fisher strolled into Garni’s Ghost Town Art & Coffee Shop in Pioche and Fisher, the 47-year-old bike shop owner, and Garni, the former bass player and a founding member of the band, Quiet Riot, began chatting and sharing thoughts on Nevada.

“He’s doing it the right way. Going around the state by bicycle and meeting people one-on-one,” Garni said. “He came off as very sincere.”

Fisher finished his bicycle journey from Blue Diamond and Las Vegas to Elko and Carson City and Reno last Saturday. The moderate Republican, who considers himself an outdoors-oriented Teddy Roosevelt Republican, is often mistaken for a Democrat by friends who like Fisher’s renewable energy, solar power and ecotourism priorities and ideas.

Garni played bass for Quiet Riot when he was a teen-ager in southern California and now considers Pioche and Nevada his home.

He said Pioche is grappling with growth issues, trying to strike a balance between its rural roots in Lincoln County and the scenic setting that attracts more tourists. There’s also a popular bicycle ride in Lincoln County every fall that attracts hundreds of cyclists to the area.

Garni began the business in the former 1865-era blacksmith shop as an art gallery to feature his 3-D art that he has displayed on the walls. He told Bicycle Stories that his art supplies are literally things he finds in Nevada.

Then, the art gallery also began serving coffee before it added a café to the operation.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Amargosa Valley Market Owner Hosts Jared After Helping A Driver Escape The Sand Dunes

You have not enjoyed the full Nevada experience unless your car gets stuck in the Amargosa Valley sand dunes about 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

Jared Fisher, on the final leg of a 14-day, 1,400-mile campaign for governor bicycle tour, was helping his brother-in-law get his car out of those dunes Thursday when local market owner Ed Martell drove out to help Jared and Matt the brother-in-law last night. Matt has been doing video work of Jared's campaign launch bike ride and meetings with state residents since catching up with Jared in Carson City several days ago.

Ed, who owns Martell Market in Amargosa Valley, came away impressed with Jared after hearing that Fisher is nearly done with his epic bicycle ride around Nevada to hear what Nevadans have to say on the issues. Fisher, a 47-year-old bike shop and touring company owner, dubbed his bike ride, "The Listening Tour." That's Ed pictured below in his market with Jared.

"I told him he was awfully young to be running for governor," the 75-year-old Martell told Bicycle Stories today.

"I thought he was 26 or 27," said Martell, who is a former Bellagio casino floor supervisor. "I was surprised when he told me he was 47."

Martell said Jared is welcome to come back to his store to campaign and meet customers one-on-one in the small town of 1,500 between U.S. 95 and the California state line.

He was impressed that Jared was launching his campaign via two wheels and that he will have to go door-to-door and shake hands of residents in Las Vegas if he's going to defeat Attorney General Adam Laxalt, a Republican who is expected to throw his hat in the ring for governor.

"If he was running for governor, then bicycling is a real good thing," Martell said.

"He has a good chance. He's an interesting guy," Martell said. "I showed him around the market store."

Martell moved from Las Vegas to Amargosa Valley, but still his keeps his Vegas home.

"He has a good chance if he keeps pushing like he does and gets out and meets people," Martell said. "He has real good chance as long as he's honest with them."

Jared is fighting windy conditions today and hopes to reach Pahrump Friday night as he is reduced to biking at five or six mph because of the stiff headwinds.

On Saturday morning at 8 a.m., friends of Jared and the campaign are expected to join the candidate for a bike ride back to Blue Diamond from Pahrump.

"It's been an amazing two weeks. Everyone has been so nice and courteous," Jared told Bicycle Stories today.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Jared's Epic Governor Bike Ride Trip Makes The Reno Gazette-Journal

The Reno Gazette-Journal's Seth Richardson wrote a spectacular story on Jared's run (or bike) for governor this week.

And I also loved the photo of Richardson took of Jared. Great photo, Seth.

How many times have we seen Jared in a long-sleeve button-down shirt on a bicycle? It's a fantastic photo. And the shirt hardly looks wrinkled!

Jared has already biked more than 900 miles from Las Vegas to the Reno-Carson City area (his future home) as he speaks to Nevada residents along this "Listening Tour." It's 1,400 miles in 14 days for the 47-year-old bicycle marathon man from Blue Diamond who is committed to the environment, education and economy growth.

While pedaling this circuit, Jared has spoken with small business owners across the state such as Kelly Garni, the famed bass player from the band, Quiet Riot, who owns the Ghost Town Art & Coffee Shop in Pioche.

I also hope you have been enjoying Jared's daily Relive your ride graphic, which shows a very cool 3-D aerial summary showing Jared's daily rides through Nevada's mountainous and high-desert terrain.


Jared's run for governor has also caught the attention of Bicycle Retailer and Industry News (BRAIN).

And just last month, the Review-Journal's Colton Lochhead wrote this story on Jared's run.

Great political leaders have walked and biked their ways through their states en route to major victories and Jared -- already well-known in the Las Vegas area -- is already making his mark by touching so many people in Nevada's small towns on a one-by-one basis.

This is the type of devotion and commitment you will get from Jared as the state's next governor.

To help Jared's campaign or find out more, log onto Fisher's campaign website.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Jared Meets A Reno Bicyclist Who Happens To Know About Political Campaigns

Jared Fisher and Mike Galeoto are a pair of fat tire bike geeks with one other common bond.

Both have entered the political arena.

Fisher, 47, of Blue Diamond, is running for governor of Nevada and is biking 14,000 miles in 14 days from Las Vegas to Reno and back to listen to the concerns and thoughts of Nevadans.

Galeoto, 51, of Reno, is a fat tire bike maker and steel fabricator who worked on Joe Biden's 2008 Democratic primary campaign in Nevada.

Here's why Fisher has so much political appeal: Galeoto, a former Army medic and National guardsman, is a moderate Democrat who easily connected with Fisher, who is a moderate, Teddy Roosevelt Republican who has a big focus on land conservation, renewable energy and solar power.

He may be a registered Republican, but Fisher has a lot of crossover appeal for Democrats who love his land and outdoors policies.That's why it's so difficult to assign labels to Fisher or drop him in a political category.

Fisher and Galeoto knew each other from previous bike races in Beatty and met up Sunday night at the Great Basin Brewery in Reno.

"Jared looks like he's a regular guy. Most of the stuff he talks about me and my friends are on board with like all the conservation and solar stuff and just being reasonable and wanting to work with the other side," said Galeoto, pictured below on the left.

Galeoto said he would be willing to work on Fisher's campaign in the Reno and northern areas because a moderate Republican can have a lot of appeal for Republican voters who want an alternative to Attorney General Adam Laxalt who is expected to run for governor.

"Jared is going about it now in a low-key way but when you're going up against a well-known family like the Laxalts, he will need to ramp it up," Galeoto said.

Galeoto is an intense mountain biker who knows the political world.

He worked on Biden's campaign in 2008 and still has a strong handle on the state's current political pulse.

Galeoto sees Nevada's political landscape broken into three regions -- Las Vegas to the south, Reno to the north and Elko region to the northeast.

"I get involved politically when I need to," he said. "Before, Jared and I were bike geeks but now I can help out.  The best Republicans have been progressives. I find that really smart. I find what Jared is doing is very plausible."

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Fisher Meets Elko Area Doctor (And New Bike Shop Owner) On The Campaign Trail

On Friday morning, John Gull was out pedaling his gravel bike -- a road-style bike with wide tires -- in Lamoille about 25 miles from Elko where he crossed paths with Nevada's newest gubernatorial candidate.

Gull, an ear, nose, throat physician who also opened a bike shop in Elko six months ago, had bumped into Jared Fisher around 9:30 a.m. Friday, The 47-year-old Fisher is biking around Nevada to hear what Nevadans have to say about state government and public issues.

Fisher, who owns two bicycle shops and a bike touring business, is pedaling 14 days and 1,400 miles to meet locals from Las Vegas to Reno..

"I think his ride is a great thing. It shows he's a regular Joe just like one of us and that he's an active person," said Gull, a 43-year-old doctor from Spring Creek and co-owner of Bristlecone Bikes in Elko, a city of about 25,000.

The Elko area is about half-way between Reno and Salk Lake City, about four hours from Reno.

"The bike ride allows him to spend one-on-one time with people and to get to know them as a person," Gull said.

"It's important to get to know the character of the person," said Gull, pictured below. "For him to have come to visit our town on a bicycle was really helpful."

Gull said a big issue in Elko was getting approvals from the Bureau of Land Management and other federal agencies to build biking and hiking trails on federal lands.

He said there are a lot of dirt roads, but not enough dedicated trails.

Fisher and his friend, Mark McCann of Phoenix, later met up with Gull for lunch in Elko. McCann is leaving the campaign bike trail and rented a car to drive home to Phoenix.

Gull found out that he and Fisher have some other connections, too. Gull said he attended the same high school as Fisher's wife, Heather, did in Spanish Fork, Utah. And Gull said he recalled going to Fisher's bike shop in Moab, Utah when mountain biking there.

In :Las Vegas, Fisher owns Las Vegas Cyclery off the 215 at Town Center Road in Summerlin and Escape Adventure bicycle tours.

Gull said he enjoyed the encounter with the candidate for governor.

"That was pretty cool. I was pretty amazed he would bike that far," Gull said. "That's a lot of dedication."

Fisher has more miles to pedal. He looks to hit the Reno and Carson City area soon.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Jared Meets Bryan, Who Says: "One of America's strengths is that an individual can stand up and say we're a little off course."

On a high desert mesa north of Lake Mead, local resident Bryan Mortensen was riding his bicycle Monday morning when he bumped into another guy on a bike who just happens to be running for governor of Nevada.

Mortensen met Jared Fisher, a 47-year-old father of four from Blue Diamond who was taking time from running his two bike shops and bike touring business to pedal around the state of Nevada for 14 days to hear the concerns of state residents.

For several miles, Mortensen biked with Jared and Jared's pal, Mark McCann, who is cycling the first 500 miles or so on Fisher's epic 1,400-mile state circuit ride.

Mortensen teased Jared, saying biking around the state is a tough way to go door-to-door to meet state residents.

But Mortsensen, a 37-year-old water district employee from Logandale in Clark County's Moapa Valley, said he appreciated Jared's attempt to meet residents one-on-one via the bicycle.

"It was definitely pretty unique," Mortensen said after meeting Jared at Snowbird Hill south of Overton in rural Clark County. "This is a great that he is able to combine one of his passions with launching a campaign."

Mortensen said Jared came off as sincere and mostly listened -- which is the goal of this two-week "Listening Tour."

He said the Moapa Valley's big issues are jobs and education and that Clark County government is too restrictive on new business owners. "We're being strangled by the Clark County bureaucracy," Mortsensen said.

And he said there are too many federal and school district mandates that "are being shoved down our throats."

Mortensen said he would like to see Moapa Valley's communities that straddle I-15 about halfway between Mesquite and the Valley of Fire exit have more autonomy when it comes to regulating local businesses and schools.

He said the younger generations in their 20s and 30s are more welcoming to independent-minded candidates such as Jared, who is not a party insider. Jared considers himself a moderate Republican in the Teddy Roosevelt tradition.

He said Moapa Valley residents, which is mostly Republican, typically vote party line on candidates but that they are more centrist on issues.

"The newer generations in their twenties and thirties are looking for someone who will vote common sense and conscience and not just because of the party," Mortsensen said.

"Everything is so homogenized and well-defined. One of  America's strengths is that an individual can stand up and say we're a little off course," Mortsensen said. "I wish (Jared) well."